I am still in awe of iBiquity and I have to hand it to them for stick-to-it-liveness. The newest “fix” for their FM IBOC system, colloquially known as HD Radio™, is in contour on-channel repeaters. According to the article “Performance of FM HD boosters varies,” (Radio World online edition), the reason for such boosters is to “increase or fill in FM Digital footprint so that the digital coverage matches that of analog.”
The idea that IBOC is somehow an improvement over FM analog is becoming (or has become) untenable. In order to make the new system cover the same area with the same reliability as the old analog system, on-channel bandaids boosters are now needed. And what is with this extending coverage? How much more expensive will radio station owners have to deal with to make this scheme work? And I still don’t understand where the improvement over analog-only systems comes from.
As the article points out, however, all is not well in paradise; the IBOC booster signals interfere with analog signals close to the booster transmitter. This becomes problematic if the receiver is an analog-only device. As of this writing, most of the radios in this country do not have HD Radio™ capabilities. Thus, radios that are currently working perfectly well will be cut out and can become useless around these repeaters.
For your reading pleasure, the entire NAB report can be found here.
Try as they may, neither the NAB, iBiquity or Greater Media can supplant the laws of physics. Then there is that insanity definition floating around:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.